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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
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LaBelle’s Son Can File Claim in Assault Case

HOUSTON (CN) - Patti LaBelle's son and bodyguard, who faces claims that he senselessly beat a West Point cadet at a Houston airport, can file a third-party complaint against Continental Airlines for allegedly overserving alcohol to the cadet before the altercation, a federal judge ruled.

Richard King sued Patti LaBelle aka Patricia Edwards in state court last June claiming LaBelle ordered her bodyguards to attack him because he was standing too close to her luggage at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

In his state claim, filed in Harris County, King says he was talking on the phone, minding his own business and waiting for his family to pick him up when LaBelle's bodyguards punched his face, and knocked him against a concrete pillar.

King says LaBelle watched the assault with approval from her limousine, and even posed for photos with responding Houston police officers over his pooled blood after an ambulance picked him up.

Besides LaBelle, King named her son/bodyguard Zuri Edwards, and two of her other bodyguards involved in the fight, Efren Holme and Jane Doe, as defendants in his state suit alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and defamation.

The case was removed to federal court where Edwards brought a counterclaim against King for assault, and LaBelle brought a counterclaim against him for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to his alleged racial slurs, and profanity during the incident.

Edwards subsequently filed a motion seeking to file a third party complaint against Continental Airlines.

Edwards claims that because the airline kept serving King alcohol despite his obvious intoxication it is liable to him for the damage King inflicted. Or if he is compelled to pay King any settlement that Continental must contribute to it, or indemnify him.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison granted Edwards' motion in a ruling he issued Wednesday.

"King filed no response to Edward's motion. Edwards did not unduly delay filing the motion, and Edward's proposed third-party complaint has substance because it asserts claims directly against Continental based on injuries to Edwards, and also requests contribution and/or indemnity," Ellison wrote.

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